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Pronounced: TAR-kah
Generic ingredients: Trandolapril, Verapamil hydrochloride

Why is this drug prescribed: Tarka is used to treat high blood pressure. It combines two blood pressure drugs: an ACE inhibitor and a calcium channel blocker. The ACE inhibitor (trandolapril) lowers blood pressure by preventing a chemical in your blood called angiotensin I from converting to a more potent form that narrows the blood vessels and increases salt and water retention. The calcium channel blocker (verapamil hydrochloride) also works to keep the blood vessels open, and eases the heart's workload by reducing the force and rate of your heartbeat.

Most important fact about this drug: Doctors usually prescribe Tarka for patients who have been taking one of its components--trandolapril (Mavik) or sustained-release verapamil (Calan SR, Isoptin SR)--without showing improvement. Like other blood pressure medications, Tarka must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may take a few weeks before you get the full benefit of Tarka; and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Tarka does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Take each dose with food, exactly as prescribed. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Keep the container tightly closed. Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Tarka. More common side effects may include: Constipation, cough, dizziness, headache, heartbeat irregularities, upper respiratory tract infection Less common side effects may include: Back pain, bronchitis, chest pain, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, fatigue, joint pain, nausea, pain in arms and legs, slow heartbeat, swelling, upper respiratory tract congestion Rare side effects may include: Anxiety, drowsiness, dry mouth, fast heartbeat, flushing, general feeling of illness, impotence, indigestion, muscle aches, rash, weakness

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Avoid Tarka if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it, or to verapamil or any of the ACE inhibitors, including Capoten, Vasotec, and Zestril. You should also avoid Tarka if you have low blood pressure or certain types of heart disease or irregular heartbeat. Make sure your doctor is aware of any cardiac problems you may have. In addition, Tarka is not for you if you have ever developed a swollen throat and difficulty swallowing (angioedema) while taking an ACE inhibitor. Make sure your doctor is aware of the incident.

Special warnings about this medication: Call your doctor immediately if you begin to suffer angioedema while taking Tarka. Warning signs include swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; swelling of the arms and legs; and difficulty swallowing or breathing. Bee or wasp venom given to prevent an allergic reaction to stings may cause a severe allergic reaction to Tarka. Kidney dialysis can also prompt an allergic reaction to the drug. Tarka sometimes causes a severe drop in blood pressure. The danger is especially great if you have been taking water pills (diuretics), or if you have heart disease, kidney disease, or a potassium or salt imbalance. Excessive sweating, severe diarrhea, and vomiting are also a threat. They can rob the body of water, causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure. If you feel light-headed or faint, you should lie down and contact your doctor immediately. Because another of the ACE inhibitors, Capoten, has been known to cause serious blood disorders, your doctor will check your blood regularly while you are taking Tarka. If you develop signs of infection such as a sore throat or a fever, you should contact your doctor at once--an infection could be a signal of blood abnormalities. Tarka may also affect the liver, so your doctor will perform liver function tests periodically. Report these symptoms of liver problems to your doctor immediately: a generally run-down feeling, fever, pain in the upper right abdomen, or yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes. If you have a heart condition, heart failure, cardiac irregularities, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, or Duchenne's dystrophy (the most common type of muscular dystrophy), make certain that your doctor knows about it. Tarka should be used with caution under these circumstances.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Tarka is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Tarka with the following: Drugs classified as "beta blockers," such as Inderal, Lopressor, and Tenormin Carbamazepine (Tegretol) Cimetidine (Tagamet) Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) Digoxin (Lanoxin) Disopyramide (Norpace) Diuretics such as Lasix and HydroDIURIL Flecainide (Tambocor) Lithium (Lithonate, Lithobid) Phenobarbital Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Aldactone, Midamor, Dyrenium Potassium supplements such as K-Lyte, K-Tabs, and Slow-K Quinidine (Quinidex) Rifampin (Rifadin) Theophylline (Theo-Dur) Because Tarka can increase the potassium level in your blood, you should avoid salt substitutes that contain potassium unless your doctor approves.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Because of its ACE-inhibitor component (trandolapril), Tarka should not be used during pregnancy. When taken during the last 6 months of pregnancy, ACE inhibitors can cause birth defects, premature birth, and death of the developing or newborn baby. If you become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. The verapamil component of Tarka does appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. Do not breastfeed while taking Tarka.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Tarka comes in four strengths of trandolapril and sustained-release verapamil. Your doctor will prescribe a dose of Tarka that is comparable to the doses you were taking separately. Doses range from 1 to 4 milligrams of trandolapril and 180 to 240 milligrams of verapamil. Tarka is taken once a day with food. If you have impaired liver or kidney function, your doctor will adjust your dosage accordingly. CHILDREN: The safety and effectiveness of Tarka in children under 18 have not been established. OLDER ADULTS: If you are over 65 years old, you may be more sensitive to Tarka. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure more closely and adjust your medication dose accordingly.

Overdosage: An overdose of Tarka can cause dangerously low blood pressure and life-threatening heart problems. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical treatment immediately.

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